Love, friendship and family in Lessing's Damon, oder die wahre Freundschaft, Minna von Barnhelm, oder des Soldatenglueck and Emilia Galotti
Canow, Kurt Alois
Master of Arts
The social relationships of love, friendship and family are important themes in all of Lessing's dramas. Such abstract concepts as emotion, forgiveness, empathy, honor, harmony and virtue have a particular meaning in the later eighteenth century and do not necessarily correspond to twentieth- century social and moral outlooks. The object of this paper is to examine an early and late comedy and a late tragedy by Lessing, to show similarities and differences, and to point out some of the outlooks toward love, friendship and family -- variations of the same associative principle in the literature, of Sentimentality -- found in these dramas.